Selective Attention

Investigation of attentional modulation via fronto-thalamic networks
2007 Seed Grant
Daniel Llano, M.D., Ph.D
The University of Chicago

Dr. Llano investigates the way that the brain controls selective attention. For example, when chatting at a cocktail party, you can immediately shift your focus to another part of the room if you hear your name mentioned. Unfortunately, in many disorders of the brain, the ability to shift and focus our attention in impaired. Dr. Llano’s research uses functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at specific areas of the brain that are activated during attentional tasks. It is hoped that this work will lead to a greater understanding of how these mechanisms break down in disease, and ultimately, how to repair them.

The proposed work is designed to better understand brain mechanisms of attention. The results of this work have the potential to assist in the development ofbetter strategies in the treatment of attentional disorders. Furthermore, in the new era of brain-machine interfaces, the current work will assist in understanding how to integrate neuroprosthetic devices into the normal attentional systems of the brain. In addition, since this work uses anovel approach to study areas ofthe brain not often studied in brain imaging research, it is hoped that this work will provide a new basis to approach other cognitive processes, such as language and memory.

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The Role of Microglial Lysosomes in Selective Neuronal Vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the Nervous System Constructs Internal Models of the External World
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the Orchestra of Movement—Functional Role of Striatal Astrocytes in Health and Disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…